We recently visited Keukenhof in Lisse, The Netherlands. This world famous Flower Park dates back to the 1500s starting as a fruit and vegetable garden. Once Keukenhof Castle was built, landscape architects came in and designed the basis of what is now Keukenhof Gardens. Today, Keukenhof is home to over seven million blooming flowers and allows visitors from all over the world to experience living catalogs from over 100 companies and 500 flower growers. If you're visiting The Netherlands in the spring, Keukenhof and the surrounding gardens must be on your list.
Our entire trip to The Netherlands was based around a trip to Keukenhof, so we decided to stay near Amsterdam's Schipol Airport. Our hotel, Ibis Schipol Amsterdam Airport VERY budget friendly and they offer a free airport shuttle. We knew we wanted to be at Keukenhof early to beat the crowds, so we planned on catching the very first shuttle from the Airport to Keukenhof.
Our original plan -
We ended up getting a bit of a later start and catching the 0814 shuttle from the Airport to Keukenof. The bus was packed, but we did not have to wait in any lines at the airport to get on the shuttle nor did we have to wait in any queues to get into the gardens. The shuttle takes about 35 minutes.
We were able to eaily purchase our "Combi Tickets" (tickets + round trip bus fare) at the airport kiosk. You can purchase the tickets online as well, but we didn't want to have to print anything. If you go later in the day, you will wait in long queues to purchase tickets, long queues to get on the shuttle and a queue to enter the gardens.
First and foremost, the gardens get PACKED with people. Do everything you can to arrive at the gardens as soon as the park opens or on the first shuttle. We arrived about an hour after opening and were able to get some great photos, but about an hour after we arrived, the park was slammed with visitors.
As you enter the gardens, you will be able to get a free map of the campus. We decided we wanted to bee line for the windmill and then make our way through the flowers. We were able to stop, take our time and get some photos before the throngs of people arrived.
We then made our way to the awesome playground where we enjoyed some coffee and nutella covered waffles while the kids played. From there, we walked over to the petting zoo and then did the hedge maze.
There are several places to stop for food and refreshments. You'll find everything from hotdog stands to poffertjes stands (tiny Dutch pancakes) to Italian and Asian restaurants. We grabbed a couple sandwiches to-go and had a mini picnic just before we rented bikes.
Renting and riding bikes around the Tulip fields is a MUST. Do not skip this part. Honestly, I would suggest renting bikes and going for a ride OVER going into Keukenof Gardens. It was one of the highlights of our entire 21-day European trip.
Originally I was a bit confused about renting bikes at Keukenof. I was under the impression you could bike around the gardens, but you can not. Keukenof allows strollers, but not bicycles.
HOWEVER, there is a Rent-A-Bike Van Dam kiosk in the parking lot. You do not have to reserve bikes in advance, but if you're wanting specific types of bikes or kid accomodations, then it is suggested. Book in advance HERE. We rented bikes at the last minute and were able to get a 2 seater kid wagon and 4 adult bikes with no problems. (but we did get the LAST wagon)
COST: For 4 adult bikes, 1 child wagon on the 2 hour self guided tour cost us about 50 EURO.(View a full 2018 Price List HERE)
- Get there as early as possible
- Wear Sunscreen
- Wear comfortable clothes/shoes
- Book your bike rental in advance
- If you're sticking to a budget, pack a lunch and have a picnic in the gardens
- Check a map before going and figure out where you want to go first
- Bring a stroller (the gardens are HUGE & the bike rental kiosk will store your stroller while you ride)
- Ask the workers at the entrance to stamp your hand when you leave the gardens; this gives you the ability to re-enter for free if you want after your bike ride
We stayed 2 nights and 1.5 days in Amsterdam. I wish we could have stayed longer. The Dutch countryside is some of the most gorgeous landscapes I have ever seen. Not to mention the friendly locals, easy public transportation and delicious food. If it isn't on your list yet, be sure to add Amsterdam, Lisse & Keukenof to the top.